Give it a Rest: Three Reasons Why That Crazy-Long Workout Is a Bad Idea November 30, 2015
Give it a Rest: Three Reasons Why That Crazy-Long Workout Is a Bad Idea November 30, 2015

Everyone knows them: gym braggers who share the set-by-set details of their daily two- or three-hour sessions with almost anyone who’ll listen. You’re supposed to be impressed with their obvious results. That is, if there are results to see. Recent research tells us that spending more than 45 to 60 minutes working out is not only unproductive, but also potentially harmful.

Specifically, prolonged workouts open the door to three key fitness busters:

Fitness Buster #1: You’ll release excess cortisol. You may know cortisol as the evil belly fat-fueling villain of late-night TV infomercials. That’s not entirely fair. When exercising, your body releases cortisol as its reaction to the inherent stress of exercise. However, in low quantities, cortisol increases blood glucose levels and immune functions, while actually aiding metabolism. But when there’s too much cortisol released, these benefits reverse. Additionally, it can disrupt muscle-tissue creation and repair, while aiding fat storage.

Fitness Buster #2: You’re increasing the likelihood of neuromuscular burnout. Prolonged strength-training workouts are fine on occasion. But a regimen of two- or three-hour workouts can stress your muscles and nervous system to excess and increase required recovery time. If you don’t allow adequate resting time between workouts, you’re less likely to advance your goals. Think of it this way: Pro sports teams have days off and the off-season for a reason.

Fitness Buster #3: Socializing in between sets? For some, spending more time at the gym means more opportunities to build a social life — at the expense of progressing fitness goals. The same is true when working out at home — focus on your workout, not on doing chores or text messaging during your workout time.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that most adults engage in moderate-intensity cardiorespiratory exercise training for about 30 minutes a day, five days a week. A full-body workout, like the ones you’ll find in FitnessBuilder, contains eight to ten exercises. Each exercise typically calls for three sets of ten reps, with 45 to 60 seconds of rest between sets. To do these correctly and in line with the intensity instructions, you’ll need about 45 minutes to an hour. This leaves you with very little time to waste.

So when the gym braggers shift into high gear, tell them you’ve got it down to an hour. And if you’re doing it right, they’ll see the benefits of your timesaving ways.


PumpOne’s complete workout guidance, tracking and scheduling tools include more than 1,000 workouts, or you can create your own sessions from 7,000 exercise images and videos. Download it from the App Store or Google Play, or sign up at PumpOne.com.

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